November 09, 2007 11:30 ET

RONA Unveils New Eco-Responsible Initiatives and Partners with International Life Cycle Assessment Chair

BOUCHERVILLE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2007) - RONA (TSX:RON), Canada's largest distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products, today unveiled a series of "eco-responsibility" initiatives at its 2008 Spring Tradeshow, whose theme, "Building Canadian Potential," reflects RONA's commitment to sustainable development. This 62nd edition of the tradeshow, held at Montreal's Palais des Congres, brings together dealer-owners and managers from over 670 RONA stores across Canada, as well as many of the Company's suppliers. At the show, RONA introduces trends and new products that will become available in spring 2008, including new items in the RONA by Design and RONA private brand lines. A total of 1,645 new products are presented.

Highlights of RONA's new initiatives

- A selection of eco-responsible products available in RONA stores

- A new private brand product line, RONA Eco, to be launched in spring 2008

- A new partnership with the International Industrial Chair in Life Cycle Assessment Methodology at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal

- A new professional category will be created, dedicated to sustainable development within the Company

"Responsible, ethical behaviour has always guided RONA's development. Although the expression 'sustainable development' is relatively new to our vocabulary, its fundamental ideas are not," said RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton. "That's why we aim to become THE eco-responsible standard for the construction and home renovation industry in Canada. To do this, we will be putting structural elements in place, we will involve our employees and suppliers in a tangible way and we will translate this serious commitment into real-life practice. As a result, we will not only respond to growing consumer demand for environmentally-friendly products and information to help them make responsible choices, but we will also continue on the same path that has always dictated our Company's values."

Participation in the International Life Cycle Assessment Chair

RONA announced today its participation in the International Industrial Chair in Life Cycle Assessment Methodology at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, a unit of the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), Canada's most important research centre in this field. The current chairholders are Professors Rejean Samson and Louise Deschenes. Recommended by the UN Environmental Program, life cycle assessment is an effective tool that contributes to the creation of an environmental profile for a product, process or service.

RONA's association with the International Life Cycle Assessment Research Chair will lead to the development of specifications that will allow the Company to apply selection criteria for eco-responsible items found in every category of products available in RONA stores. RONA's eco-responsibility strategy will also involve its suppliers by evaluating and upgrading the life cycle profiles of their products, including reduction of wasteful packaging and use of raw materials.

"By working with the Life Cycle Assessment Chair, RONA is showing itself to be proactive and prepared to go beyond current environmental regulations. Life cycle assessment will allow them to stimulate and support their voluntary approach in favour of sustainable manufacturing and consumption," said co-chairholder Rejean Samson.

The RONA 2008 Spring Tradeshow: the Eco-responsibility Zone and the new RONA Eco product line

The 2008 Spring Tradeshow includes an "Eco-responsibility Zone" featuring 40 categories of eco-responsible products in six demonstration areas: air, water, energy, recycled products, health and earth. Not to mention a home with a green roof, where eco-responsible building products are on display, built on location. These eco-responsible products represent what RONA considers to be the best choices for consumers, based on their features that help respect the environment. In total, 400 eco-responsible products will be offered to the RONA store owners and managers attending the tradeshow. Most of these products are already available in RONA stores, and the rest will become available by spring 2008. These products were selected with the help of the International Life Cycle Assessment Chair team.

RONA also announced the spring 2008 launch of an all-new line in its private brand, called RONA Eco. Every product released under the new brand will be subjected to a rigorous assessment process and will have to meet pre-established criteria developed with the Life Cycle Assessment Chair.

"The launch of our RONA Eco brand is a first in our industry. Never before has a retailer associated its name and reputation with an eco-responsible product. At RONA we believe it's important to do something concrete to encourage people to act responsibly," Normand Dumont, RONA's Executive Vice President, Merchandising, explained.

Employee involvement and creation of a new sustainable development professional category

To reflect the strategic importance sustainable development carries for RONA, the Company has launched organizational initiatives intended to fully integrate sustainable development into the Company's activities nationwide. A Sustainable Development Committee made up of managers from every sector of the Company has been formed to take inventory of, develop and implement sustainable development activities in each of their respective fields. Employees will likewise be expected to take part in this comprehensive approach. A special "ECOmmittee" of 30 employees will be empowered to suggest ideas for environmentally smart practices to be introduced at RONA. This committee is a voluntary group made up of employees who share a strong concern for the environment.

To orchestrate all sustainable development initiatives within the Company, a new professional category dedicated specifically to this field will be created. This new category and its associated job positions will be finalized in RONA's Strategic Plan for 2008-2111, which will be made public early in the New Year.

Initiatives in place for the three pillars of sustainable development

The three pillars of sustainable development are already part of everyday life at RONA, as the Company's economic growth necessarily involves the growth of its employees and the communities they serve, as well as respect for the environment. Among the many initiatives already in place at RONA are the "Growing with our Athletes" program under which RONA supports 100 Canadian athletes, and the RONA Foundation, created in 1998 to help youth age 12 to 30 by supporting local organizations and projects that fight school dropout and illiteracy, and allow young people to learn a trade or profession. Ten years ago, RONA pioneered the concept of used-paint recovery in Quebec, at a time when protection of the environment had yet to become a widespread daily concern.

At RONA initiatives and practices are guided by the Company's Code of Conduct and an ethical approach to business. RONA is associated with the Chair of Ethical Management at the HEC, held by Professor Thierry C. Pauchant, whose mission is to promote integrity in the workplace and whose work hinges on the key values of respect for the individual and for the development of his or her integrity in the wholeness of his or her being, responsibility, the integral nature of ethics, scientific rigour and the creation of tools and enduring skills in people for the transformation of management and leadership practices. The steering committee for the Chair has been headed by RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton since its founding in 2003. RONA increased its involvement in the Chair in May 2007, when it became a partner.


RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of 673 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 26,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 14 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates close to $6 billion in annual retail sales.

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